Obama tops AskMen.com’s Top 49 Most Influential Men for 2008

American men dominate the latest AskMen.com survey of over 200,000 votes, which comprise the AskMen.com’s Top 49 Most Influential Men list of 2008.

Titans of sport, media, fashion, auto industry, film, television and politics are represented on the list that explains the reasons behind their fame and claim to influence.

AskMen.com offered their voters a unique selection process: In addition to picking those candidates who had most influenced them, readers were allowed to offer commentary on why they chose their candidate and how they were influenced by them.

The final result is a LIST dominated by entrepreneurial and creative American men; 32 of the 49 are United States citizens.  

American designer Tom Ford was over the moon at his inclusion: “It is a huge honor to be named one of the most influential men of the year by AskMen.com’s readers. AskMen.com is a great site and I am happy to be in such wonderful company.”

British David Beckham (#25), now a Los Angeles resident, was also pleased for the nods: “Thank you to all the AskMen.com readers who have again voted me in as one of the Top 49 Men.”

The men ranged from Internet upstarts like Kevin Rose of DIGG.com (#49) to presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, who topped the list.

Rose ditched college to start his company, and the California kid secured enough venture capital to launch a series of web initiatives he’d been toying with, including Digg.com.

Musicians are represented too. Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., aka Lil Wayne (#48) kicked off his career in the late ‘90s by forming the hip-hop group Hot Boys with fellow rappers B.G., Turk and Juvenile. He has had brushes with the law, and was charged with four felonies after cops found a cache of drugs in his tour bus. The Louisiana native is enjoying a solid hit with his latest CD, Tha Carter III, which sold more than a million copies in its first week.

Television’s top showrunners David Simon and Ed Burns (both tie at #42) were lauded for their great, gritty Baltimore yarn for HBO: “The Wire.”  The two men also produced the critically acclaimed “Generation Kill “(again for HBO).

Fans of “Fringe” and “Lost” turned in their votes for producer J.J. Abrams (#37)continued to produce riveting television that men especially love.

Truthiness slinger Stephen Colbert (#5) has popped high on the list; the South Carolina native and practicing Catholic makes a nightly run at skewering the right-wing American pundits in his “Colbert Report.”  In 2008, The Colbert Report won an Emmy for best writing, cementing him as one of late night’s best. That year, he also received his third Peabody Award.

King of the Internet police, TMZ creator and attorney Harvey Levin (#32) narrated the O.J. Simpson drama daily to rapt Los Angelenos during the bizarre O.J. slow-mo chase and trial time that tried to convict the ex footballer of the murder of ex wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.  It was a drunken Mel Gibson and his anti-Semitic “Sugar Tits” ranting transcript that Levin somehow procured from a Lost Hills police report that put his TMZ on the map as a news breaker.

Politicians and Washington poobahs got their nods, Ben Bernanke (#19) and his support of a bailout of private financial institutions by the United States government got him on this list.  AskMen.com notes, “his decisions in his role as chairman of the Federal Reserve during this tumultuous time have had an enormous impact on all our lives.”

Sports figures like Olympian Michael Phelps (#3), soccer stars David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo (#9) and UFC’s Dana White (#14) are given a spot on the list. 

The UFC promoter is credited with the sport’s incredible upswing, especially in the USA and the UK, which sees many fighters competing against each other.  After a record $220 million in 2006 television orders, UFC is more popular than wrestling and boxing pay-per-view events.

AskMen.com notes their top listmaker Senator Barack Obama is tangible proof to the entire world that the propagation of the “American Dream” is not jingoism, but what in essence makes the country a true beacon of freedom, democracy, and tolerance for all. 

AskMen.com writes of Obama: “For millions of young guys voting for the first time, Barack Obama isn’t a symbol of change — he is the emissary of their legacy. His arrival tells them that they aren’t doomed to inherit the archaic cynicism of their parents, but are free to entertain their own hopes and dreams…

After all, American politics have not produced a candidate like him since 1960 — yet the comparisons with Camelot should end there; for Barack and the Obama family, there was no compound in Hyannis and no entitlements. His inspirational rise has revived another idea cynics tried to snuff out: that in America, how low you start out has no bearing on how high you can go.

Win or lose come November, Barack Obama reminds us that the American Dream is real — real enough to believe in, and that it has no room for cynics.

AskMen’s Top 10 Most Influential Men of 2008:

1. Barack Obama

2. Steve Jobs

3. Michael Phelps

4. Robert Downey Jr.

5. Stephen Colbert

6. Gordon Ramsay

7. Christian Bale

8. Rob Kay

9. Christiano Ronaldo

10. John McCain

View the full list over at AskMen.com.

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